Explosion in Tent Injures Two

Tour Commander, 509.625.7100

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 8:42 a.m.

Monday, Jan. 17, at 3:09 PM, the Spokane Fire Department (SFD) was dispatched to North Waterworks Street and East Surro Avenue to the report of an explosion injuring two individuals. While the closest company was en route, Fire Communication Specialists speaking to the victims learned the criticalness of their injuries. As a result, additional resources were added to the incident, including two paramedic engine companies, two ambulances, and a Valley Battalion Chief.

The first company arrived in four minutes and found two adult victims waiting near the intersection. Both victims suffered significant thermal burns resulting from a propane vapor explosion. The victims were staying in a tent near the Spokane River and a part of a larger encampment of at least 40 people in sites scattered along the river's edge. Firefighter/Paramedics treated and transported both patients to the trauma center without delay. A fire company and BC also assessed the camp for damage and ensured the fire was extinguished.

A propane cylinder was connected to a makeshift stove utilized inside the tent for warmth. Unfortunately, the propane bottle connection had a slow leak that filled the tent with flammable gas. One of the victims admitted to lighting a cigarette inside the tent, triggering a large vapor explosion heard throughout the camp.;

At the time of this release, the victims remain in the hospital, and their status is unknown.

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